Brill Gallery exhibits vintage and later silver prints of Magnum photographer Leonard Freed
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Brill Gallery exhibits vintage and later silver prints of Magnum photographer Leonard Freed
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in Baltimore, 1964. © Leonard Freed/Magnum.

NORTH ADAMS, MASS.- Brill Gallery is presenting the Signed Vintage and Later Silver Prints of Magnum Photographer Leonard Freed that appear in his book: Black in White America. In celebration of Black History Month.

Original Edition 1967/68, Published by Britton. Republished by the J. Paul Getty Museum in 2010, 208 pages. From the Foreword by Brett Abbott, Department of Photographs:

While working in Germany in 1962, photographer Leonard Freed (American, 1923-2006) noticed a black American soldier guarding the divide between East and West as the Berlin wall was being erected. It was not the partition between the forces of communism and capitalism that captured Freed’s imagination, however. Instead what haunted him was the idea of a man standing in defense of a country in which his own rights were in question. The experience ignited the young photographer’s interest in the American civil rights movement raging on the other side of the globe. In June of 1963 Freed headed back to the United States to embark on a multiyear documentary project, published in 1967/68 as Black in White America that would become the signature work of his career.

Freed began his project by photographing the African American neighborhoods around New York City, connecting with the community by visiting churches and outdoor religious gatherings, recording life on the streets, photographing people at work and play, and capturing the way in which protests and other forms of activism had become a regular part of existence in the urban environment. The following year he bought a car and traveled the southern United States, conducting a similar survey. He photographed jails and jazz funerals in New Orleans, an abundance of segregated businesses, religious gatherings, and former plantations on which the descendants of black slaves still lived.

Black in White America, the Exhibition is up from 15 February to 31 March 2021. Because of COVID-19, appointments are required.

Leonard Freed was born in Brooklyn in 1929. His parents were working class Russian Jews. Freed studied art, but was intrigued by Photography and how it could tell stories and explore life. Edward Steichen, then Director of Photography at the Museum of Modern Art learned of Freed’s work and told him that he was one of the best young photographers he had seen and promptly bought three of Freed’s Photographs for the Museum.

In the early 1960s, Freed was living in the Netherlands and worked on international assignments for the major presses including: Life, Look, Paris Match, Die Zeist, Der Spiegel, London Sunday Times, NY Times, Fortune, etc. For Freed, Photography became his way of exploring complex societal issues such as racial discrimination and violence. More than 15 books have been published on Freed’s work, some for sale at BRILL GALLERY. The Original CONCERNED PHOTOGRAPHER Exhibition Prints are for sale to Museums and Collectors. Freed’s Photographs are in the collections of the major museums including the MET, Stedelijk, The Getty, Smithsonian, Jewish Museum, High Museum, MOMA, Museum of the City of NY, etc.

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